Submission by Lindsey Crawford
In the spring of 1994 an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed. Many of those slain
were Tutsis. The individuals responsible for this genocide identified themselves as Hutus.
While the two ethnic groups had a long history of rivalry, the act was nonetheless shocking
to both the African nation and the international community as a whole. This tragedy took
place almost 20 years ago, but Rwandans are just now beginning to heal. As more and
more refugees return home, confronted with the neighbor who may have killed their family
member, questions arise about healing. Who gets to heal? It is within this context that
Fairhaven senior Elizabeth Lamb would like to explore this and other questions crucial to
the grieving process. More specifically, in the wake of a profound tragedy like genocide,
who do we allow healing spaces for, and how do we allow perpetrators that healing?
Lamb did not set out with her insightful question in mind when she initially
decided to apply for the Boren critical language fellowship, which would allow
her the opportunity to travel to Rwanda, study the native language of Kinyarwanda
and explore issues related to trauma. Nevertheless, as she spent several months
going through the application process, her thoughts crystallized and she came up
with, not only the topic for her proposal, but the focus for future ambitions. Lamb
said that going through the Boren process helped her figure out a research area
that she could carry through to graduate school and shape her professional career.
The Boren Scholarship provides undergraduate students with up to $20,000 to study
“areas in the world that are critical to U.S. interests and underrepresented in study
abroad, including Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Eurasia, Latin America
and the Middle East.” Boren Scholars represent a variety of academic backgrounds,
but all are interested in studying less commonly taught languages, including but not
limited to Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian and Swahili.” In addition to
Lamb, several other talented and ambitious Western and Fairhaven students have
gone through the Boren application process. In 2009 Western student Dana Rafter
applied and received a Boren Critical Language Scholarship to study in Jordan.
The Boren is just one of many fellowship opportunities available for Western
and Fairhaven students. Other fellowships include the Fulbright, which offers both
opportunities for independent research abroad or English teaching assistantships; the
DAAD, a German-focused fellowship granting agency that offers a host of awards for
areas of study such as government, culture, politics and art; the Hollings, a fellowship for
students interested in working with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
and the Gilman, for students interested in international politics. Since 2008 Western
students have been awarded more than $260,000 in nationally competitive fellowships,
and have studied in Japan, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Russia and Germany. These
opportunities are available to all Western and Fairhaven students. They are amazing
opportunities, not just for study abroad, but for personal growth and academic fulfillment.
Western’s fellowship office is happy to assist students in any way they can,
whether it be in finding a fellowship that best fits a student’s goals and ambitions
or with the drafting and application process. Dr. Thomas Moore, professor
of liberal studies, runs the fellowship office, located in College Hall 05.